Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Aurora Tee in Art Gallery Knit

I have been wearing the heck out of this recent make these days. It's the Aurora Tee* from Hey June Handmade*. It's a dolman sleeve top in a slouchy fit that is perfect for the fall weather we are having now. I made the basic version because this fabric had plenty of interest on its own, but the pattern also includes an option for cute inset panels at the sides. So, of course, I will have to make one of those someday too. 

I sewed it up in this lovely knit fabric from Art Gallery. This fabric is the perfect weight for tees and tops. I was drawn to the geometric design of this print. 

I found myself in between sizes on this one, so went with a size up. (I usually figure it's better to err on the size of too big, right?) But I think it feels a bit big, so next time I will size down and see how that goes. I know it's meant to be a slouchy fit, though, so maybe it's just me. What do you think?

Side note: The picture at the top was taken by my four year old. On the first try. I think she has some skills! My husband took most of the pictures and she kept wanting to do it and I said no. Once we were done getting the photos I wanted, I let her have a turn, and Boom. She takes one picture and now it's the cover photo. I am going to have to train her up and I might have a new photographer soon!

(This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, I may recieve a small commission, but it will not affect the cost to you. Thank you for supporting my blog.)

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Halloween Costumes - DIY Ice Princess Costume

My little miss has changed her mind so many times about what she wanted to be for Halloween that my head was spinning. (Did you see this post I did? That was basically a true story). At the moment, she is said on trick-or-treating as eveyone's favorite Ice Princess. Which works fine for me, because I had already made her this costume a little while back just for dress-up play. She wears it all the time, so I was happy to make it. If she wants to wear it for Halloween this year, too, that's less work for me. Unless she changes her mind again before then...

The dress was made with the free pattern from Peekaboo Patterns. (Find it here*.) The free pattern is offered in only a single size, which is about a 4T. I made this for my girl when she was only three and she is so skinny that she could have worn about an 18m. But the pattern fits nicely. 

I changed up the skirt on the pattern. I found this shiny metallic spandex fabric from Spandex World and it seemed perfect for this dress. Since the fabric was stretchy and a bit stiff, I didn't want to do gather it. (Plus I don't like to sew gathers - it's a pain.) So I used the Jocole A-line skirt as a guide for cutting the skirt portion (find it here.)

The bodice is made with a mostly sheer tricot knit fabric layered with a sequin knit fabric. 

The cape part in the back is made with tulle. I left the tulle a bit narrower than the pattern suggests, both because I was running low and because she will be doing a lot of running and playing in this and I don't want it to get in the way. 

 It should fit her for a nice long while. And it will last a lot longer and be a lot more comfortable than the dress up dresses that you find at the store. 

I would love to hear about costumes that you have made. Which ones were your favorites?

(This post contains affiliate links, which are marked with as asterisk)

Monday, October 19, 2015

Halloween Costume - DIY Luke Skywalker

My seven year old is into Star Wars this year. So, naturally, he wanted to be Luke Skywalker for Halloween. This gave me a chance to be creative and put together his entire costume. I am pretty proud of how it came out. 

I made the whole thing out of things we had at the house and fabric from my stash, but even if you bought the fabric new, you could make the whole outfit for under $15 (without the light saber toy.) Plus, the whole thing is made of super comfy knit fabric and should hold up for a good long while. The style and color might not be very well suited for everyday wear, but it will make great pajamas. 

I started with the tutorial from Melly Sews as inspiration (find it here - She also talks about her Obi-Wan and Leia costumes!). The fabric is the cream cotton lycra from Purple Seamstress. I used the free Sleepy Robe by Blank Slate Patterns (find it here). To make it tunic length, I just cut it shorter. I used the size 7/8, but cut the length about halfway between the 18m/2T and 3/4 hemlines. I also widened the sleeve pattern at the wrist by about an inch, drawing the line straight from the armscye down to the new mark. This gives the sleeves that wider, priestly robe look over the bathrobe look.

The pants were made using the Parachute Sweatpants from Oliver + S. They pretty much fit perfectly just as written and are so comfy in this knit fabric. I did hem the bottom instead of using elastic, but made no other changes. They would be perfect everyday pants, but I think this color means they will most likely be pajamas or dress up clothes for the rest of the year.

We used an old webbing belt of my husbands for the belt and found lots of household tools and toys to hang from it. 

The light saber is a store-bought. Because, let's face it, I don't want to try to make that. And that's a toy he will play with all the time. (Find it here* if you are interested.)

The boot covers also used the basic idea described in the Melly Sews tutorial. I found it took a bit of work to make them work right, though. Just as in the tutorial, I cut a rectangle of fabric, folded it in half, serged the bottom and sides, and then cut a whole in the bottom for his shoes. I think I may have made them too big, since I didn't want them to be tight, but I think I should have made them more snug fitting. I finished the top with a snug cuff so that they stay up, but they are slightly loose through the leg. A word of warning, though - the hole in the bottom of the foot needs to be pretty small so that they stretch around the shoe. If the hole is too big they will just flop around. I know because I did that and then had to fix them back up and now they are a bit wonky, but whatever. Oh, and I used Kaufman Laguna Jersey in Taupe for the boot fabric.

Have you made your Halloween costumes yet? What are you making this year?

(This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, I may recieve a small commission, but it will not affect the cost to you. Thank you for supporting my blog.)

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

My first Maxi Skirt

I did it. I made (and wore) my first maxi skirt. I thought I couldn't pull it off, but I actually like it! I am only 5'2, so I didn't think they would work for me, but it did! 

Maxi skirts are great because they are so versatile. You can wear them all year. They are comfortable and yet polished. You can wear them to chase the kids around or wear them to work. I'm thinking this one won't be my last. Especially since they are so easy to make. The other advantage to making it yourself is that you can make it exactly the length you need, which is really important for this style. 

This is the Yoga A-Line Skirt from Jocole. (Find the pattern here.)  It's a simple design and easy to sew, which makes it do together quickly. I made one size larger than what my measurements call for because I find this pattern to be a bit more slim-fitting than I preferred. Remember that going up a size will just add some volume to the skirt, and then you can use your regular size for the waistband or adjust the waistband as needed. This is exactly what I did. For reference, my hips measure 35". I am almost always an XS in ready-to-wear, I measure at the low end of S for this pattern, but I made it in a Medium for extra volume in the skirt.

  I used a rayon spandex knit, which was medium weight but very drapey. It's quite comfortable and breathable. The drape of the fabric creates a really nice look even though it has a lot of volume to it. While I was constructing it, I tried on the skirt before attaching the waistband and decided that the drape of the fabric showed perhaps a little too much of my shape, so I decided to add a lining. I cut a piece of tricot fabric from the same pattern, using the length guide for knee-length. Then, I attached the outer fabric and the lining to the waistband as one piece.

What do you think? Do you wear maxi skirts? What are your favorite ways to style them?

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Idyllwild Dress Zipper Pockets Tutorial - Itch to Stitch Birthday Blog Tour and Giveaway

Itch to Stitch*  Pattern Company is having a birthday! We are celebrating with an awesome blog tour and giveaway! (Keep reading for sale and giveway info!)

The company has now been around for one year and has done some impressive things. Kennis, the amazing designer behind the patterns, has ten amazing patterns in her shop already and has more coming soon. I really enjoy sewing these patterns because they are well drafted and well written. Want to see some of the ones I have made? Check out the Idyllwild Dress I previously blogged  here and the Lindy Petal Skirt I blogged here.

The theme for this blog tour is "pattern hacks." All the participating bloggers have chosen an Itch to Stitch pattern to hack. The patterns are all well designed and many are great staple pieces, so there are all kinds of ways to use these patterns to make something unique.

When I heard about the blog tour, I knew I wanted to make the Idyllwild Dress*. I have already made three of these dresses and they comprised a good part of my summer wardrobe. So, naturally, I needed to make one for fall. There are all kinds of ways to change up this pattern, but I eventually decided that what I really wanted was pockets! Who doesn't love a cute dress with pockets?!  So I am sharing with you my tutorial for adding zippered pockets to this dress.


Pockets Tutorial:

Before you start: 
You may want to make sure that the dress fabric you choose can support the zippers. A very thin, drapey, or loosely woven fabric may not be a good choice. I used a ponte that worked well.

Cut out all your dress pieces from your fabric but don't sew them together yet. 

You will need about a quarter yard of fabric for the pockets. (Depending on your cutting layout, you may be able to fit the pieces on the leftover yardage from your dress.)

Materials needed
In addition to all of your cut pattern pieces you will need:
  • Extra fabric for pockets. (See note above, but 1/4 yard should be enough.)
  • Interfacing - I used a lightweight fusible knit interfacing
  • 2 Six-inch zippers - I like the look of metal zippers. You can also shorten the zippers if neccessary. To shorten, sew a bar tack or short zig zag stitch across the zipper teeth where you want the bottom of the zipper to be and cut off the excess below the bar tack. You can use pliers to remove a few of the metal zipper teeth if you have trouble sewing over them or cutting through them. Don't use your good scissors to cut them!
  • Pocket Pattern Piece - See how I drafted mine below.

Drafting your Pocket Pattern Piece:

1. Draw a rectangle 5/8" x 5.75" (1.6cm x 14.6cm) on your paper for the zipper opening. The rectangle should be a few inches from the left side of your paper. 
2. Draw a line 1" (2.5cm) from the left edge of the rectangle.
3. Draw lines 3/4" (2cm) from the top and bottom edge of the rectangle.
4. Using your hand as a guide, mark the right edge of the pattern piece.
5. Draw a smooth curve connecting these lines. You should end up with something that looks like 

Cutting your Pocket Pieces
Cut two sets of mirrored pocket pieces using the pocket piece pattern from your pocket fabric. 
Cut one mirrored set of pocket pieces from your interfacing fabric. 

Sewing Your Pockets Into Your Dress:

1. Decide where you want the pockets to be and mark a rectangle on your pattern piece the same size as the rectangle on your pocket piece. Be sure that your markings are symmetrical. 
2. Iron interfacing onto two of your pocket pieces. They should be two opposite pieces, one for the left side and one right. The interfacing should be on the side that will be outside the pocket facing the dress (I accidentally ironed it on the wrong side, but oh well.) Make sure you transfer the rectangle marking to your Interfaced pocket pieces.
3. Line up your interfaced pocket pieces with your front dress piece right sides together, lining up the rectangles on both pieces. Pin in place and then sew. (In this case, the right side of your pocket piece is the side that will be on the outside of the pocket.)
4. Carefully cut open through the middle of the rectangle on each side, clipping into the corners.
5. Turn the pocket pieces to the inside and press well. 
6. Line up the zipper in the rectangle opening. Pin or baste zipper in place and then topstitch around the zipper to secure. Do this for both zippers. 
7. Pin the matching pocket piece over each pocket and sew around the outside. 

Tip: Once you have sewn the pockets in, you can tack the two pockets together in the seam allowance. This will keep them in place so that they don't flap around when they aren't in use. 

Continue to construct the rest of the dress as normal.

Ready to shop Check out Itch to Stitch*. Use code 20off for 20% off one pattern, 30off for 30% off two patterns, or 40% off three or more patterns.

Don't forget to check out all the other bloggers and enter the giveaway below! 

Itch to Stitch Birthday Fun
(scroll to the bottom to enter to win!)
Follow these blogs to see their awesome creations from Itch to Stitch patterns:
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Saturday, October 3, 2015

A Crafty Mom's Halloween Story

October 1st: "Mom, I really want to be a pink sparkly princess for Halloween. Can you make me a costume?"
"Sure honey. I am sure we can do that."

October 2nd: Start browsing pinterest for inspiration and sketching designs for an amazing pink sparkly princess dress.

October 5th: Decide on a design. It's going to be amazing!

October 7th: Find a pattern that will fit the vision with only a few minor tweaks. Buy pattern.

October 10th: Spend all day browsing fabric shops and websites trying to find the right fabric.

October 14th: Find the perfect pink sparkly fabric. And it's on sale!

October 16th: Print out 30 pages of the pdf pattern and carefully tape it all together and cut it out.

October 17th: Analyze all the changes that need to be made to the pattern to make it work perfectly. Google how to make puff sleeves. Spend all day redrafting the pattern.

October 20th: Lay out all the fabric and realize you don't quite have enough. Head back to the store to get some more.

October 22nd: Cut out all your pattern pieces.

October 25th: Start sewing all your pieces together. That one seam is really difficult so you seam-rip it three different times. Go to bed when you get too tired to make it work.

October 26th: Continue sewing costume. Admire how well it's coming together.

October 29th: Put the finishing touches on the costume - a few extra bows and baubles. Congratulate yourself on how great it looks. You're finished with two days to spare and everyone is going to love it!

October 30th: "Mom, I changed my mind. I don't want to be a pink princess anymore. I want to be a beautiful butterfly!"

Friday, October 2, 2015

October Sewing

Hi there friends. It's October now (why does it seem like the months go by so fast) and it's time for more sewing! I'll be doing a lot of sewing this month, but I wanted to keep this month's themes a little more open since I have so many things I want to sew.

Here is what I am inspired by this month:

Fall shirts and tops in cozy fabrics. The weather is finally turning colder and I can't wait to sew up some warm flannel, sweatshirting, and french terry.

Work appropriate clothing. I started working part time as a teacher this year, so I need a few more tops and pants to wear to work. I am looking for things that look put together and semi-professional, but still allow me to run around or sit on the floor with the kids. I work with young kids so anything I wear also needs to be easily washable. :)

Halloween. Of course we can't forget Halloween. I am already working on sewing up some Halloween costumes for the kids that I can't wait to share with you.

What are you sewing up this month? I would love to see!

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